Distracted Driving: South Dakota


mount rushmore south dakota

The Mount Rushmore State varies in weather and driving laws from other states, so your driving style has to change too. Here are some tips on driving safety in South Dakota:

Phone Calls While Driving

According to a 2010 Pew Research Center Survey, 36% of teens say they have been involved in a near-crash because of someone’s distracted driving. Balancing multiple tasks is difficult for any driver, and it is even more difficult for a new driver. South Dakota enforces a cell phone ban for young drivers. If you are between the ages of 14 and 18 and hold a learner’s permit or restricted minor’s permit, you are prohibited from using any hand-held communication device while driving. This ban only applies to young drivers, but driving while using a cell phone in any capacity can be distracting for anyone. It is safer to use a hands-free option or to pull over to finish your conversation.

Texting and Driving

While there is no law about texting and driving, there is a law that states that texting and driving

“Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway, alley, public park, recreational area or upon the property of a public or private school, college or university carelessly and without due caution, at a speed or in a manner as to endanger any person or property, not amounting to reckless driving as defined…is guilty of careless driving.”1

This means that you will still be guilty of driving carelessly if you are texting, which is a class 2 misdemeanor and can result in 30 days in jail, a $500 fine or both.

This applies to all forms of distracted driving. If you are taking a phone call while driving you could receive the same consequences. The Ad Council recommends these four tips to stop texting and driving:

  • Put your phone on silent
  • Place your phone where you can’t see it or reach it
  • Designate a passenger as your texter
  • Find an anti-distracted driving app that works for you

Things to Consider

Flooding is not uncommon in South Dakota and if you are distracted, you might miss it. It is important to keep your eyes on the road so you can watch for floodwaters. According to the National Weather Service, it only takes two feet of moving water to carry away most vehicles, including SUV’s and pick-up trucks. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley reminds us that it is all our responsibility to stop the texts, stop the wrecks!

Want more information on how to reduce distracted driving in South Dakota? You can read the driving manual here. If you’d like more information on how you can stop distracted driving, read here.

Do you have tips on how to avoid distracted driving? Let us know in the comments below!

1Source: SL 1984, ch 233, § 2; SL 1989, ch 256, § 21